Congressman Cohen Raises Memphis Environmental Issues With TVA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

June 24, 2021
Press Release
At a Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing, receives assurances on Byhalia Connection pipeline, Tom Lee Park and coal ash cleanup

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today questioned expert witnesses from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) about environmental issues affecting his constituents in Memphis. In particular, he asked for an update on the status of the Byhalia Connection Pipeline that, if constructed, would unjustly affect the historic African American community of Boxtown and other communities in southwest Memphis and threaten their drinking water by crossing over their drinking water wellfield.   Congressman Cohen has previously written to both President Biden and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raising concerns with the proposed pipeline and suggesting that the nationwide permit be rescinded until environmental and community concerns can be adequately addressed.

Congressman Cohen also asked for the Corps’ help in approving a permit for major renovations of Tom Lee Park on the riverfront. The Congressman also asked TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash about the Bellefonte nuclear power plant in Alabama and the need to lower energy costs for Memphians and sought his assurance that the coal ash removal at the TVA’s Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis would be expedited.

In his questioning about the Byhalia pipeline, Congressman Cohen said in part:

“The Corps is committed to an environmental policy and being a good partner on the environment and yet this project [Byhalia pipeline] did not take into consideration (environmental justice) community issues… The Corps has an obligation to consider those effects now.”

See Congressman Cohen’s questioning of the witnesses here.

Witnesses at today’s hearing were:

  • Jaime A. Pinkham, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works;
  • Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellman, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
  • Jeff Lyash, President and CEO, Tennessee Valley Authority; and
  • Daniel Avila, Acting Commissioner, International Boundary Water Commission.